What is EmbraceOKC?
The OKC Public Schools Compact is a collective impact model whose partners are the Oklahoma City Public Schools, the Oklahoma City Chamber, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, the United Way of Central Oklahoma, and the City of Oklahoma City to support improvements identified by the Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Modeled after ReadOKC, Embrace OKC is the Compact’s newest collaborative initiative with a focus on mental health.
EmbraceOKC means that we have come together, as a community:
- To embrace mental health as preventable and treatable
- To protect children’s mental health for life
- To achieve maximum social and emotional wellbeing for children and their families; and
- To hold the school and community as a sanctuary of safety and support.
OKCPS worked with our partner at the state level, the Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health, to administer the Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment (OPNA) survey to more than 7,000 of our students in 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grades. The survey was paid for by our amazing Compact partners.
The OPNA results helped us identify patterns, risks, and behaviors that can drive prevention and support services. It also provided us with the data needed to create a comprehensive, district-wide mental health action plan to address some of the challenges that OKCPS students and families are experiencing.
Click here to see the complete mental health plan.
If you have questions, or would like to get involved with this initiative, please contact Dr. Teri Bell, Executive Director of Student Support Services.
Messages from Our Partners
"At United Way of Central Oklahoma, we believe in the strong future of Oklahoma City Public Schools, the staff, leadership and especially the students. This initiative to bring strong, evidence based mental health programs into our school community will only add to the success of our schools and ultimately our city."
- Debby Hampton, President and CEO, United Way of Central Oklahoma
“I hope that through this work every one of our 45,000 students and their families feel the arms of Oklahoma City being wrapped around them. Our top priority must be to provide our students with the supports they need to be successful and achieve our vision of every student graduating ready to fulfill their unique purpose in a healthy, vibrant community. And, I am so proud that of all the issues our Board of Education could have selected to work on alongside The Compact partners, they identified mental health as an obstacle facing many of our students and called on them to help us find a solution. I’ve said many times that until we work to meet our students’ most basic, foundational needs - food, warmth, emotional and physical safety - many of our students will continue to struggle to find academic success.”
- Dr. Sean McDaniel, Superintendent of Schools, OKCPS
"The City of Oklahoma City is proud to partner with the compact on the Embrace OKC program. It is incumbent on us to come together as a community and improve our children’s mental wellbeing. This proactive school-based effort has the power to put our students on a path to success."
- Jim Couch, City Manager, City of OKC
"We can't expect our students to perform to their highest potential when they are dealing with ongoing situational and emotional challenges. Through the OKC Compact's Embrace OKC initiative, the business community is working arm-in-arm with educators and mental health professionals to create innovative, evidence-based solutions. By offering support and resources to our district, Embrace OKC is creating an environment where students can thrive academically and emotionally."
- Teresa Rose Crook, Vice-Chair for Education and Workforce Development, Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce & Chair of OKC Compact
"Focusing community support in the areas of greatest need for Oklahoma City Public Schools is the mission of The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. As part of the OKCPS Compact, we have been proud to promote reading and literacy through the ReadOKC initiative, and we now look forward to joining partners across Oklahoma City to provide critical mental health services for our students via the Compact’s newest initiative, EmbraceOKC.
Together, we can provide a rich, supportive educational experience for every child in OKCPS."
- Mary Mélon, President and CEO, Foundation for OKCPS